Project Management. The very term evokes images of project managers pouring over Gantt charts, assigning work out to their teams, and soliciting updates. By definition, project management entails significant management, but what about leadership? The two are by no means mutually exclusive, but how do they differ? One definition suggests management is the art of getting people to get things done; leadership is the art of getting people to want to get things done.
Researchers Dale Christenson and Derek Walker believe leadership is critical for any project and a project vision “is a significant contributing factor to project success” (39). Together, they published an article titled “Understanding the Role of ‘Vision’ in Project Success” in the September 2004 issue of the Project Management Journal. This paper will evaluate Christenson and Walker’s approach to developing a project vision and use that approach to develop and evaluate a vision statement for a recruiting solutions project, which is about to begin.
Christensen and Walker’s designed an approach to “engender passion and meaning to a project” (40). In addition to defining certain key characteristics, the authors propose a process for establishing a vision that truly resonates with the project team and its stakeholders by engaging with stakeholder representatives to identify the underlying assumptions, values, and desires of the project team and their culture. This process requires the project champion or appointed project leader to establish a stakeholder reference group, which consists of representatives from all of the different types of stakeholders of the project. This group then works to develop and validate the project vision, which is then delivered to the project team.
The article does a good job of describing the advantages of providing a project vision and it also goes into sufficient detail about how to work with the stakeholder reference group to build that vision. While the authors review several case studies, there is little information, however, that a project leader can use to effectively write their own project vision. Still, the article does provide the necessary information for an enterprising project manager to research project vision statements and establish a vision for his or her own project. The rest of this paper will discuss the project vision for one particular project and review how it leverages the concepts suggested by Christensen and Walker.
Recruiting Solutions Project Vision
In 2001, Talent Factors decided to productize a number of existing recruiting capabilities to create eRecruit with Talent Factors version 6. This product sought to help recruiters and hiring managers find and hire the best candidates for open positions within their company. The initial release was fraught with technical issues and functional shortcomings. It was subsequently re-architected in 2003 for Talent Factors 7, then...